New Plymouth's former Labour MP and Minister outside cabinet Harry Duynhoven is the city's new mayor.
With 10,011 votes, Mr Duynhoven won the office by 1657 votes from his main rival, National-linked Pauline Lockett.
The race between National and Labour-aligned contenders dominated the contest after the mayor of nine years, Peter Tennent, stood down.
The third and fourth placegetters won less than half of the votes won by runner-up Ms Lockett.
Taranaki mayors retained
To the south, Stratford's mayor Neil Volzke was unopposed.
South Taranaki's Ross Dunlop easily retained the mayoralty with 6482 votes, more than six times the votes of his nearest opponent.